Health Department warns Taneytown of potential exposure to rabid raccoon

The Carroll County Health Department is reaching out to anyone who may have come in contact with a raccoon that attacked a dog April 11 near 1st Street and Fairground Avenue, in Taneytown.

The raccoon was captured Friday morning near Red Tulip Court and has since tested positive for the rabies virus, according to a Health Department news release. Health Department officials note that people or pets could have encountered the animal in the area prior to, or following Thursday’s attack.


“Rabies exposure occurs through bites and scratches or saliva from the animal getting into a person’s eyes, nose, mouth, or a wound,” Joe Mancuso, rabies program manager at the Health Department, is quoted as having said in the release. “We want to be sure that anyone who may have been bitten, scratched, or exposed to saliva by this raccoon contact the Health Department.”

As Mancuso has previously told the Times and the media release notes, rabies exposure is serious and urgent — infection is almost always fatal once symptoms begin — but not an emergency, and effective treatment is available for several days after being exposed. Anyone who may have been exposed to the raccoon,or had a pet or family member who might have been, can call 410-876-1884 for more information on how to assess their risk and get treatment if necessary.

The dog that was attacked by the raccoon was already vaccinated and so needed only a booster shot and will stay in quarantine for 45 days to ensure it is healthy, according to the release.

“If a pet has never had any type of vaccine prior to an exposure to rabies, they get a booster and then it’s a four-month strict quarantine,” Mancuso previously told the Times.

With warmer weather bringing more animals and humans outside together, health officials warn people to be wary of wildlife, especially species known to commonly carry rabies in Carroll — feral cats, skunks, foxes, and bats among others, and most especially raccoons.

“Observe wildlife and animals you don’t know from a distance, and keep your pets vaccinated,” Mancuso is quoted as having said in the release. “The Health Department offers two low-cost rabies vaccination clinics each year to help county residents keep their pets vaccinated.”

The next rabies vaccination clinic will be held 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Carroll County Agriculture Center.